Odd-even gas rationing starts Friday on Long Island

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Bruce MacKenzie owner of MacKenzie Landscaping in Aquebogue fills up gas cans at Empire gas station in Laurel Wednesday morning.

After more than a week of gas shortages caused by superstorm Sandy, Suffolk County has announced a new gas rationing policy effective Friday that will assign days when drivers can buy gas based on their license plate number, officials said.

The odd-even policy means that on odd numbered days of the month, only drivers with licence plate numbers ending in an odd number will be sold gas; on even days of the month, cars with even-number-ending plates will be allowed to buy.

Vanity license plates will be counted as odd plates, officials said. The policy will not apply to commercial vehicles, taxis, limousines, or emergency fleets, nor will it apply to handheld gas canisters, according to a county statement.

Gas stations will be required to sell fuel only to drivers based on the odd-even license plate rule and out-of-state license plates will be subject to the same rules.

The policy will go into effect 5 a.m. on Friday, according to the county statement.

Nassau County officials have announced they will enforce the same policy.

“This temporary fuel policy will ease the challenges residents of the bi-county region are experiencing in the aftermath of the storm,” said Suffolk County Executive Steven Bellone. “Our citizens travel between Nassau and Suffolk without regard to county borders and it only makes sense that we adopt a regional solution. I thank my counterpart Nassau County Executive Mangano for working with me to adopt this policy.”

The odd-even rationing was last used in New York in 1978 when tensions with Iraq and Iran caused a gas shortage scare. County officials did not immediately say how long the rationing would last.

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